The 121-year-old Howth Yacht Club, which has one of the largest yacht or sailing club memberships in the country, saw Joe McPeake succeed Berchmans Gannon unopposed as Commodore at a very well-attended Annual General Meeting in the club on Thursday December 8th writes W M Nixon.
What may well be a record AGM turnout of 275 voting members gave strong support to the new management team, which retains former officers Emmet Dalton as Vice Commodore, Ian Byrne and Jonathan Wormald as Rear Commodores, and Bernadette Condy as Honorary Secretary, while the new Honorary Treasurer is David Mulligan. He is an experienced financial administrator while also being a sailor’s sailor who actively campaigned a classic Howth 17 and then an Etchells 22, following which he has been a stalwart as an owner-skipper in the white-sail cruiser class.
New Commodore Joe McPeake – who was formerly Rear Commodore – is a lawyer and property developer who has been an HYC member for 26 years, and is a boat owner who has recently concentrated on cruising under both power and sail, his ventures including reaching the Arctic Circle along the Norwegian coast in a Contest ketch. But he has also raced locally, and in national regatta weeks, as well as racing round Ireland.
A strong committee moves into place combining much new talent with many experienced long time voluntary workers for sailing and HYC. While - like many clubs - Howth has gone through difficulties during the lean years, the meeting concluded in an optimistic mood, as the good news included the fact that a much-needed roof replacement project has come in on time and within budget.
As though to emphasise the spirit of can-do optimism which became the HYC mood around mid-meeting, next day saw the annual and decidedly convivial charity lunch organized by top offshore skipper Dave Cullen. It featured a presentation by Marcus Hutchinson (originally of Howth) about the Vendee Globe and Enda O’Coineen’s participation in it, including a live interview with the gallant man himself deep into the Southern Ocean, while the event raised €27,000 for Children’s Liver Disease Research.
Then next day the annual HYC Brass Monkeys Winter League – now approaching its 30th year of organisation by Pat Connolly – concluded its first half with a record fleet racing including J/80s from HYC’s own training fleet.
Following that, the noted toy distributor S Claus of North Pole Enterprises came to call on Sunday (yesterday), and then this Thursday (December 15th) sees perhaps the most legendary annual event in the HYC social calendar, the Ladies Lunch organised by Martina Gannon and her team, this year in support of The Ross Nugent Foundation. Guest speaker this year is Howth’s own Susan Whelan, who is CEO of Premiership champions Leicester City Football Club. Needless to say, the event has long been a sell-out.